Goals of the UT
Goals of the UT include the following:
• to restore physical and emotional health and heal relational disconnection by understanding and dealing with the emotions that drive disorders and learning to experience emotions without symptoms;
• to develop greater awareness of emotions as they occur—particularly their function and the interactions between physical sensations, thoughts, and behaviors;
• to explore underlying core appraisals while increasing cognitive flexibility;
• to practice applying skills in response to emotional experiences as they occur; and
• to do difficult things without depending on typical avoidance strategies/eating disorder behaviors to cope, which leads to sustainable change.
When a client first enters treatment for an eating disorder, a thorough evaluation is necessary to determine the client’s level of care and other factors including medical risk, motivation, the eating disorder’s effects on daily life and relationships, other co-occurring disorders, and frequency of symptom use. Once in treatment, it’s crucial that individuals start by understanding how emotions work. The majority of the energy used by clients with eating disorders and other mood disorders has been directed toward minimizing or avoiding their emotional intensity. Many clients do not understand the purpose of emotions because they feel uncontrollable, uncomfortable, or unstable. Customers are instructed that no real emotion is dangerous. are instructed that no real emotion is dangerous. While recalling unpleasant events may “feel” hazardous, and actions taken in response to the emotion may also be unsafe, the emotion itself is not unsafe. Even “poor” or unpleasant emotions are in fact beneficial and have an adaptive purpose. Clients discover that it is sometimes okay and safe to experience emotions like sadness, anxiety, fear, or anger because they can trigger important reactions and behaviors.